Metal Garage Doors,
Options In Steel, Aluminum, And Copper
Metal garage doors can be found in almost any style you desire. The most common designs are the sectional overhead door and the roll up door. The overhead sectional door has large horizontal sections that are typically 18-24 inches tall. The sections move up a pair of tracks that curve back away from the wall opening and extend horizontally just below the ceiling.
Roll up doors have narrow sections that coil up around a spool on the wall just above the wall opening. You can also find metal doors that slide to the side or swing open horizontally, but those are not common on residential garages (at least not in my part of the country!). Residential models in the US are typically of the overhead sectional type, so that is what I will be focusing on here.
Steel is the most common material used for metal garage doors today. Steel doors are strong, lightweight, and relatively maintenance free. They come in any color you can imagine, and can easily be painted. Many residential steel doors have a textured woodgrain finish. They can be made to look just like conventional wood, and a lot of the raised panel, recessed panel, and carriage style doors you see on homes today are actually made of steel. A steel garage door is relatively inexpensive, not prone to mold or mildew, and is insect-proof.
Steel will rust, though, and if the paint is damaged this can happen rather quickly. The salty air in coastal areas will accelerate this process. Steel is also prone to dents and dings which are hard to repair, especially if the door has insulation and you can't get to the back side of the dent.
Stainless steel garage doors are also available if you are going for a unique look. They are rather expensive, but you don't have to worry about rust. Stainless steel will still corrode over time, it just takes a lot longer. It can be clear coated though, to keep it looking like new. Stainless steel garage doors work well in coastal areas, and you will probably be the only person on your street to have them!
The second most common material for a metal garage door is aluminum. Aluminum has many of the same characteristics as steel. It is lightweight, maintenance free, easily painted, mold and mildew resistant, and insect proof. These can be found in the same styles as steel or wooden garage doors, and can be embossed with a wood grain finish.
Unlike steel, aluminum will not rust, so it is especially suitable for coastal areas. The biggest disadvantage to aluminum models is that they are easier to dent than steel, and even harder to repair. They are not as popular as steel doors, so there aren't as many choices available. Some of the more popular manufacturers don't offer any choices in aluminum.
An option you don't see very often is brushed aluminum garage doors. They look very similar to stainless steel garage doors, and are expensive like a stainless steel door. They also can be clear coated to keep them bright and shiny!
Another unusual option that is available is copper. Yes, copper! I'll be honest, I didn't even know these existed until recently. Copper garage doors offer a unique, distinctive look that is unlike anything else out there. Copper can be smooth, or embossed with a woodgrain texture. Copper will tarnish and turn dark brown fairly quickly, and will eventually corrode and turn green with exposure to the weather. Some folks like the "patina" of weathered copper garage doors, but they can be clear coated to keep them bright if you prefer.
You can also get steel or aluminum doors that have an exterior "skin" that is made from fiberglass or vinyl. The exterior skin provides protection from dings and dents, and also eliminates any worries about rust or corrosion. Some of the fiberglass skins are made to look like stained wood and are pretty realistic.
A metal garage door is the best option for most people due to the durability and low maintenance requirements. Steel and aluminum models offer the best value out there, and they can be made to look just like painted wood. Metal garage doors can be found in almost any style, and can last a lifetime with a minimal amount of care.
To learn more, take a look at my pages on:
- Steel Garage Doors
- Aluminum Garage Doors
For information on other types, go to our Related Pages menu on the right near the top of this page.
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